We are only 4 weeks into the New Year, and already last Saturday is one of my favorite days of 2015. Two concerts in one day. With a pending major snow storm, many thought the roads would be un-drivable and events would be cancelled. However, that didn’t stop Philadelphia, and the storm barely made a disaster. I made my way down to Philadelphia in the afternoon to catch the 104.5 Winterjam festival first. An outside concert where I got to see The Gaslight Anthem again, which was a terrific show as always. With my spirits high and my feet frozen I traveled 15 minutes to the Electric Factory to catch probably the best tour package of the year, Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake.
The opening band of the night was Arizona’s own Authority Zero. One may think, that isn’t a ska band?! Why are they on this bill?! However, I think Authority Zero was a good choice. They have a few ska influenced songs and they really can get the crowd hyped up. With only a 30 minute time slot, the guys in Authority Zero proved to the sold out crowd they were a perfect fit for this tour. Authority Zero plays with a lot of high energy and passion and lead singer Jason DeVore does that justice. Never stopping and always trying to get the crowd excited. The last time I saw Authority Zero was at the Theatre of Living Arts which is a smaller stage and gave Jason more room to get into the crowd’s face. The Electric Factory has a bigger stage which made that harder, but don’t let that dissuade you. Catch Authority Zero live, even if you aren’t a fan, they put on one hell of a show.
Stealing the show, and I mean it, was Less Than Jake. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen Less Than Jake, but my favorite show of them was in West Chester, PA at The Note with The Menzingers. However, this show is now my favorite. The backdrop and the designs on the amps reminded me of Hello Rockview. Less Than Jake outdid themselves with this tour. Having smoke devices, confetti, toilet paper, and balloons go off through the show was a surprise. Having a man propose on stage, a kid from audience come on stage to dance, and two guys from the audience drink on stage and dance made their set the most entertaining I’ve seen. The guys in Less Than Jake seem to just want to have fun on stage. I even have a flip book of photos showing Chris DeMakes’ “O” face. Also with the recent issues in Blink 182, maybe Blink 182 should take notes from Less Than Jake in how to stay a stable band through the years. I also love that Less Than Jake isn’t scared to play anything off In With The Out Crowd. Chris came out and said I know you won’t like us playing this song but we enjoyed the record and here is “Overrated (Everything Is)”. I personally thought that album was decent, but that is me. Less Than Jake went through a 20 some song set and played the “Pac-Man Theme Song” not once, or twice, but three times, which surprisingly didn’t get old. With a discography like Less Than Jake I think the set list they had displayed a good range of their songs. I can’t wait till they come around again.
Closing the night was the ever fun Reel Big Fish. I was still having my Reel Big Fish withdraw since the last time I saw them in Philadelphia in June at Xfinity Live! That show felt short to me, but this show made up for it. Reel Big Fish played all their popular hits but also put in some surprise songs like “Skank For Christmas”, I know it is past Christmas, but they just released Happy Skaliday and have to promote it somehow. The biggest surprise though was when they played “My Life” by the Forces Of Evil. This is the closest I’d get to seeing the Forces Of Evil and to be honest half the band is half of Reel Big Fish. It only makes sense they play a song. If you aren’t familiar with the Forces Of Evil, Google them and be prepared to be blown away. Throughout Reel Big Fish’s set, they did covers of Sublime and The Offspring which is entertaining to hear. This made me start to think though, and if anyone in Reel Big Fish reads this please consider covering a song from The Hippos. A ska band that needs to be remembered, in my eyes at least. Even though Reel Big Fish didn’t have confetti or a fun stage set up, they still put on an amazing show by running around and playing guitar solos behind their back. Point is, if you miss this tour, you are missing out on a memorable night. Now if only we get a Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish, and Less Than Jake tour to happen….